3G Watchdog app for Android monitors your 4G/3G/Edge/GPRS data usage


-What phones are supported?
-Incorrect usage count on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, 10.1N, 10.1v, 8.9
-May I purchase 3G Watchdog Pro via PayPal? [Pro]
-I bought Pro, can / should I uninstall the free version?
-Can I install 3GW on the SD card?
-Problems downloading, installing or upgrading 3GW from the market
-3G Watchdog says my copy is not legal but I bought it [Pro]
-I reset my phone / upgraded the OS and now 3GW says my license is not legal [Pro]
-Why isn’t Pro in my language when 3G Watchdog Free is? [Pro]
-I want to contribute a translation, what should I do?
-Can I use an automatic Task Killer?
-Does 3GW count Wifi/Edge/GPRS/4G?
-Does 3GW count WiMAX?
-Is tethering usage counted by 3GW?
-Is 3G watchdog accurate?
-Can 3GW count per application? [Pro]
-Is usage by application accurate [Pro]
-Can 3GW exclude certain types of usage (TV, sites, applications…)?
-Can I set alerts for roaming usage?
-SIM cards and accounts [Pro]
-SwitchPro widget & Airplane mode
-Built-in Mobile network enable/disable feature
-Does 3GW drain the battery?
-Can I have a longer (one day) update period?
-Does 3GW keep the phone awake?
-Does 3GW access the Internet?
-Does 3GW access my data?
-Usage Graph in version Pro [Pro]
-Backup / Restore – What does it save? [Pro]
-Why does 3GW need to start automatically at boot?
-I lose connection WIFI to 3G
-APNdroid doesn’t restore correctly 3G
-Why usages by application are sometimes shown in blue? [Pro]
-The % is stalled at 0 [since the last upgrade or other conditions]
-The usage % calculation is inaccurate?
-I want to set usage for my plan/week/month without changing the day history [Pro version 1.5.0+]
What is the “Restrict background data to WiFi” feature? [Pro version 1.5.0+]




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    • What phones are supported?

      Most phones running Android 1.5+ are likely to be supported “out of the box” – if not, contact us and let us know your phone model and Android version.


      – Extra large screens (such as the Xoom) are still experimental as of March 2011.

      – Phones with QVGA (low resolution) displays are supported on Pro since 1.7.0 but the layout might be difficult to read.

      – Usage by application only works on devices with Android 2.2 (Froyo) and more recent.

      Known problems 

      • – [Pro & Free versions] 3G Watchdog and other data usage monitoring applications do not count properly global usage on the Galaxy Tab 10.1[v] and Tab 8.9). This seems to be caused by the implementation of Android of these tablets (see the dedicated FAQ entry).

        – [Pro & Free versions] Doesn’t count properly global mobile usage on Samsung Galaxy R / Z (i9103) and possibly Galaxy Y. Problems were also reported on the Galaxy Captivate Glide.

      • – [Free version] Crashes reported with Motorola Quench/ CLIQ XT since 0.30.0, please use older versions.

      • – [Pro version] Early versions of 3GW Pro reported as not working on ZTE Blade/Orange San Francisco (black screen on start). Be sure to use the latest one.

      • – [Pro version] Dell Streak / Acer Mini E310: Usage by App doesn’t work (phone maker’s implementation fault).

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    • Incorrect usage count on the Galaxy Tab 10.1, 10.1N, 10.1v (and possibly 8.9)

      The Galaxy Tab 10.1, 10.1N, 10.1v, and possibly the 8.9 don’t work well with data usage counting applications. 3GW leverages functions provided by the Android programming interface, and apparently they are incorrectly implemented on these devices (see Android issue 19938). There is nothing we can do about it (we have no access to the faulty code). Let’s hope that Samsung will fix this in future upgrades of Android. Sorry for the inconvenience.

      The Pro version since 1.10.0 has a workaround: you can check the “Calculate global usage from usage by app” option in 3GW Settings > advanced to tell 3GW to use the sum of all application usages as the source for global usage. It’s not a perfect solution though, as usage by app is generally less accurate than global usage.

      Update Sep 15, 2011: if you are ready to take the risk of flashing a new kernel (and assume the consequences), custom kernels available on this page, from version (Aug 26, 2011) or more recent, allegedly fix the problem for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (not verified though). Instructions to flash the kernel are included in the page. You also need to uncheck the 3GW Settings > Advanced > “Use pre-Froyo traffic counting interface” option for the counting to be correct.

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    • I bought Pro, can / should I uninstall the free version?

      The free and pro versions are independent from each other, so you can uninstall the free version once the Pro version is installed (but you can also choose to keep them both installed if you prefer).

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    • May I purchase 3G Watchdog Pro via PayPal?

      (I’d like to purchase 3GW Pro but I have no credit card or no Google checkout account, or there is no Google Market in my country – what should I do?)

      Unfortunately there is currently no way to purchase 3G Watchdog Pro other than via the Android Market. The application is protected by the Google licensing server, which requires you to be a registered used, so you must purchase the application via the Google Market – and the market offers no payPal payment option to date (although they were rumors of such an option in late 2010, but no news since then…).

      In late 2011 Google made an agreement with Vodafone in Italy and Spain to allow its clients to purchase apps and be directly charged on their phone bill. Hopefully this will be extended to other countries/operators in the future.

      To distribute 3GW on other markets offering a PayPal payment option would require us to remove the license check mechanism, and this is something we are not yet ready to do. We are fully aware of the inconvenience and limitation of the current procedure for both potential customers and for us (in terms of market restriction), and we are thinking about possible solutions to this problem. Thank you for your understanding and your interest in 3G Watchdog!

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    • Problems downloading , installing or upgrading 3GW from the market

      (download stuck or unsuccessful after a few seconds, or install never completes).

      We are sorry you had problems with installing or updating 3GW. That’s a Market/Android problem, not a 3GW one, but you can try the following (for any failed app downloads):

      1. Cancel any download in progress (if you can).
      2. Go to phone settings > Applications > Manage applications > tab “All” > select “Market updater” > In the “cache” section, click on the “Clear cache” button if it’s enabled.
      3. Try again to install 3GW from the market – If it doesn’t work, do the same as in 2, but this time select the “Market” application instead of the “Market updater”. Clear the cache. Try again to install 3GW from the market.
      4. If it still doesn’t work and you were upgrading, try uninstalling 3GW (settings > Applications > manage applications > 3G watchdog > Uninstall), then reinstall it – it will be a fresh install, and you will lose your recorded data usage and settings.
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    • Can I install 3GW on the SD card?

      According to Google, applications installed on SD cards will be interrupted if you connect via USB to a computer to transfer files or remove the SD card. Therefore applications installed as services (such as 3GW) should not be installed on an SD card.

      We tried to work around this limitation, but it failed, due to Android bugs (in particular widgets don’t work properly), so we gave up for now. If you want to save space, you should rather move apps like games to SD.

      This is why the application doesn’t offer the choice to be installed on the SD card in the first place. Don’t try to bypass this limitation by forcing 3GW to install on SD via applications such as app2SD, because it won’t work properly.

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    • 3G Watchdog says my copy is not legal but I bought it

    • 3G Watchdog checks periodically with the Google licensing server that the copy is legal. The period is automatically determined by Google and is around 1 or 2 days. When it happens, you need to be connected to the internet (via either a Wifi or mobile connection). If you get the message “Your 3G Watchdog Pro license could not be validated”, make sure you have a connection, and try again (several times if necessary) to start the application  (maybe the Google server is temporarily unavailable, although this is rare), usually the problem resolves itself after a few attempts. Contact us if it is not the case.

      You can also try to restart your phone (if not already done). If you just installed the application, you can also uninstall the app and download / install it again from Google Play.

      We are sorry for the inconvenience but that’s the way the Google licensing mechanism works. This problem occurs sometimes but is usually easily fixed by starting 3GW again (contact us at contact-pro@3gwatchdog.fr if it is not the case). You won’t have lost any usage information.


      • I reset my phone / upgraded the OS and now 3GW says my license is not legal

        The Google Market identifies you as a customer via your Google checkout account (not via your phone number or some other phone ID). You may install 3GW on several phones, move it from one phone to the other, or change SIM (thus phone number), provided you use the same Google account as the one you used to purchase the application.

        If you reset the phone / upgrade your OS or flash a ROM, you must set up again this account (as the main/first account) on the phone, or the Google license checking server will reject you. Make sure you have an active Internet connection when you start 3GW for the first time after that.

        See also Google’s help.

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        Why isn’t Pro in my language when 3G Watchdog Free is? [Pro]

        3G Watchdog Free has progressively grown to more than 25 languages over two years. 3G Watchdog Pro is a new, more recent program and so translations had to start from scratch. We could not afford to start with 25 languages from the beginning, and until the program stabilized, it would have been a pain to have to update each translation (i.e. contact each translator) every time a message is added or modified. Now that the application gets more stable, we are progressively adding  new languages.

        See also: “I would like to contribute a translation”.

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        I want to contribute a translation, what should I do?

        Contact us and please specify if it is for the free or Pro version.

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        Can I use an automatic Task Killer?

        We don’t recommend the use of an automatic task killer, for various reasons. If you still want to use one, make sure that the 3GW application and service are excluded from the list of killable items, or 3GW won’t work properly (it needs to run permanently)!

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        Does 3GW count Wifi/Edge/GPRS/4G?

        Prior to 0.33.0 (free version) and 1.7.0 (Pro version), 3GW was not counting Wifi usage, because it’s usually free, and the purpose of the application being to help you to manage limited resources, it focuses on handling mobile data usage in the best way it can.

        However simple Wifi monitoring has been introduced in free 0.33.0 and pro 1.7.0 to help you evaluate the traffic corresponding to some usages without having to actually consume it. This support is very limited, no alerts, no prediction, no graph, it just counts.

        In spite of its name, 3GW counts all kinds of mobile internet connections, like 4G/3G+/3G/2G/Edge/GPRS, as soon as they are counted by the phone itself (the app. relies on the phone counters). The name “3G” is just a generic name for mobile data connection types.

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        Does 3GW count WiMAX?

        WiMAX usage is counted as mobile since 1.10.0 and is still experimental. Feedback is welcome.

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        Is tethering usage counted by 3GW?

        If the connection from your phone to the internet is a mobile one, usage should be theoretically counted by 3GW, regardless of the type of connection between your phone and your computer.

        However, depending on the phone, cases have been reported where mobile usage was counted only after tethering ended, all in one block, or not counted at all. 3GW relies on the implementation of Android on your phone to count traffic and report the network connection state, so it can’t do better than the system.

        • [version Pro] Two pseudo applications “WiFi tethering” and “USB tethering“, listed in the Usage by application screen, account for the mobile usage while tethering.


      • Is 3G watchdog accurate?

        (My billed usage doesn’t correspond to the usage reported by 3GW, why?)

        3G Watchdog is based on the “raw” traffic as measured by the phone and so can’t do better than the phone itself. Your operator can apply more or less complex billing rules to that measured usage. 3GW (Pro version only) optionally applies some of these rules (counting in block, ignoring uploads) to help you distinguish between the measured and billable usages, and alerts you based on the billable usage. – you can set up these rules in section “Billing rules” of the Settings screen. Unfortunately there is no limit to operators’ creativity when it comes to billing schemes, and 3GW can’t possibly handle them all.

        Some other factors that can affect accuracy are: the reset time (some operators start counting at an hour different from 00:00, or even use a different time zone); a crash of your phone while you selected a low refresh frequency; an always possible bug in 3GW or in your operator’s accounting software can’t be ruled out, your operator may not always be totally honest (example), etc…

        So 3GW will be more or less accurate for you, depending on a number of factors, many being out the app’s control, so don’t expect it to be perfect. In most cases it will be accurate enough to really help you to anticipate and master your mobile data usage. Your part of the job is to try to know the billing strategy of your operator (which 3GW can’t guess) and tune the billing rules accordingly, so the usage reported by 3GW will match your operator’s one as closely as possible.

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        Can 3GW count per application?

        Yes since Android 2.2. However the figures reported by the Android system have been found to be rather inaccurate, see this FAQ entry for details.

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        Is usage by application accurate [Pro]

        Is usage by application accurate [version pro, Android 2.2+]?

        Usage information is provided by the Android system, and unfortunately is rather approximative. As a rule of thumb global usage (as displayed in the main screen) tends to be more accurate, so you should trust it more.

        Starting from 3GWP 1.9.0, streaming media traffic (e.g. YouTube) may be reported under the name “Streaming media” rather than under the apps which actually use it. However the usage of some applications (e.g. TuneInRadio) is correctly reported under their own name.

      • Measured usage not assigned to any specific installed application is listed under the name “OS services + others“.

        The lack of separate counters for Mobile and Wifi usages obliges 3GW to “track” connectivity changes to distinguish the current type of usage. This creates a risk of overlooking usage occurring while the 3GW service is not running. The service is automatically started on boot and normally stays running in the background,  unless killed (manually or automatically) by a task killer, or by the system in case of a severe shortage of resources . If this happens, the service will automatically be restarted within 15 mn, but traffic by app consumed during that time will not be counted. Note that the same problem will not affect global usage because Android provides a dedicated counter for global mobile usage, so even if the 3GW service is temporarily down, the internal Android counters are still tracking usage and the 3GW service is able to catch up without loss of data when restarted.

      • The sum of all usages is displayed at the top of the screen can only be compared with the global measured usage, not with the billable usage.

        Finally, it has been reported that the Dell Streak and Acer Mini E310 don’t implement correctly the Android functions used by 3GW, and usage reported stays at 0 for all apps.

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        Can 3GW exclude certain types of usage (TV, sites, applications…)?

        In the Pro version 1.6.0+ applications can be excluded (i.e. not counted) in the usage by application total, but since usage by app accuracy is dubious this solution is not entirely satisfactory.

        Filtering by destination IP is hard since it would have to be implemented at the system level, like a firewall, and would require a rooted phone with access to the IP tables (which are not present on all phones)!

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        Can I set alerts for roaming usage?

        Roaming usage management is still very primitive in the current version of 3G Watchdog (no alerts, no usage graph, no billing rules, it just counts), but it will be developed in the future to include at least alerts and billing rules.

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        SIM cards and accounts [Pro]

        3GW Pro automatically associates an account (settings + usage history) to each SIM card used in the phone. When you switch the SIM, the current account displayed switches too.

        A SIM card must be present on the first run after install, with the following exceptions:

            – CDMA phones have no SIM card, but 3GW creates an account for them, associated to a fixed pseudo-SIM card number.

           – [since 1.9.0] Likewise, devices without mobile internet capability (and no SIM card), such as WiFi-only tablets can be used (after confirmation). 3GW will use a fixed pseudo-SIM card to create an account.

        3G Watchdog memorizes the last SIM used, so after the install if your card is missing, 3GW will show you the numbers for the account associated to this SIM.

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        SwitchPro widget & Airplane mode

        If you are using the SwitchPro application to toggle the Airplane mode, make sure that the following SwitchPro option for Airplane mode is deactivated/unchecked: “Turn off signal only (Airplane mode will only turn of the mobile network)”. Otherwise there will be problems with the SIM card identification by 3GW when you enter Airplane mode.

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        Built-in mobile network enable/disable feature [Android 2.3+]

        Since version 1.8.0 (Pro) and 0.34.0 (free) 3G Watchdog offers on devices with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) a built-in mobile network enable/disable mechanism, compatible with the “Data enabled” aka “Use packet data” system switch (system settings > Wireless and network > Mobile networks > Data enabled) and with third-party applications using this switch to enable/disable the network.

        This mechanism is proposed as an alternative to APNdroid and JuiceDefender in 3GW’s Auto-disable feature (3GW settings > Alerts).

        Since 1.9.0 (Pro) and 0.35.0 (free) it is also possible to manually enable/disable the mobile network via the corresponding option in 3GW’s main screen menu. A widget (“Mobile data switch”) is available since 1.10.0.

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        Does 3GW drain the battery?

        No, it does not drain the battery. To verify this, look at phone Settings > About phone > battery usage. You will see that most of the battery is used by the Android OS and the display. The whiter the images, the more battery used –  and in this respect, 3GW’s black background preserves better your battery than applications with light backgrounds.

        See also the question “Can I have a longer (one day) update period?” below.

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        Can I have a longer (one day) update period?

        (usually in order to save the battery). Currently the available update periods range from 30 sec to 1 hour. With an hourly period, 3GW runs 24 updates per day. Each update takes around 150 ms (clock time, not CPU), thus ~3.6 seconds per day of processing clock time. This will certainly not drain the battery or bring the CPU to its knees. So there would be no benefit to increase to period beyond 1 hour. Besides, the 3GW widget and notification bar refresh depends on this update, and 1 hour is already a lot.

      • A final important reason: when the phone is rebooted (turned off/on), it resets its internal counters, and there is a risk that the usage since the last update be lost/not counted (3GW tries to detect this situation and work around it but it’s not guaranteed to work at all times). The higher the update period frequency, the lower the risk, so a high frequency is recommended if accuracy is important.

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        Does 3GW keep the phone awake?

        Once at midnight for checking day change, and every 15mn for a few milliseconds as a mechanism to check the health of the 3GW service.

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        Does 3GW access the Internet?

        3GW free version doesn’t perform any network operation, and doesn’t exchange any data via any of your connections. It has not even the permission to transfer data over the network (only to read the network state).

      • 3GW Pro accesses the Google licensing server, and it will be the only reason for which a limited permission to access the Internet (“Market license check”) is required.

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        Does 3GW access my data?

        No. It counts network usage but doesn’t look at the data exchanged. And it can’t access your contacts, mail or any personal information on the phone (it has not the necessary permissions).

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        Usage Graph in version Pro

        reportplan02 1 4 0 smMost data counting graphs (including 3GW free) represent directly usage on a bar whose full span represents a 100% usage.

        3GW Pro takes a different approach: the usage graph in the Plan and Day views is not scaled on a usage quota (plan quota or day recommended usage). Instead, the scale represents a timeline of the period (billing period for the Plan tab, or just the current day for the Day tab). Usage is only indicated by the % numbers over the bar (used % over the position corresponding to now, and predicted % at the right end of the bar corresponding to the end of the period). The color of the predicted % reflects the status of your usage (green/orange/red). This color is also used to fill the bar from the beginning of the period to the current position in order to make the current usage status more visible at a glance.

        This may be confusing at first since most similar graph bars show usage, not time, but once you get used to it, it’s a rather synthetic view which we find superior to the old one (e.g. if you are going to exceed your usage the graph shows you when you will reach the 100%). We experienced with 2 separate bars for usage and time but concluded that it was only more confusing (and took more space on the screen).

        Update: since version 1.9.0 you can toggle between the Pro and the free graphs by long pressing on the graph. Your choice will be memorized independently for the Plan and Day tabs.

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        Backup / Restore – What does it save? [Pro]

        – The backup saves your settings and usage history (for all your SIM cards). It does not save the widgets, you’ll have to recreate them after a restore.

      • – It is recommended to restore from backups made the same day. While it’s technically possible to restore older backups, it raises a number of potential issues and the need to merge some data may yield surprising results.

      • – An hourly auto-backup is available, you can enable it in Settings > Misc > Auto backup. Only the latest backup is kept on the SD card.

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        Why does 3GW need to start automatically at boot?

        3GW runs as an Android service in the background to count usage, so it must be started automatically at boot.

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        I lose connection WIFI to 3G

        I loose connection when I switch from Wifi to 3G or vice versa / the 3GW icon doesn’t show up.

        It’s a phone problem, not related to 3GW.

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        APNdroid doesn’t restore correctly the mobile connection

        Not a 3GW problem, see disclaimer!

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        Why usages by application are sometimes shown in blue? [Pro]

        The blue color is just a visual hint to highlight usages that have changed since the last refresh. It will disappear with the next refresh, unless the usage has changed again.

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        The % is stalled at 0 [since the last upgrade or other conditions]

        Check that you didn’t accidentally select GB (GigaBytes) instead of MB (MegaBytes) for the Quota in the Settings.. page (for example a quota of 500 MB would make sense but not 500 GB). Since 1 GB = 1024 MB, that would explain that the percentage looks like it is stalled at 0.

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        I want to set usage for my plan/week/month without changing the day history [Pro version 1.5.0+]

        Prior to version 1.5.0, manually setting the plan/week/month usage would not update the other period totals in order to stay consistent. Since 1.5.0 if you set usage (in the app on the Plan/Week/Month tab, in Menu > set usage) it will evenly (version 1.5.0) or proportionally (pro-rata, version 1.5.1+) distribute this usage amount over the days of the plan/week/month. The periods including these days will be recalculated accordingly.

      • For example, let’s say your plan started ten days ago, your plan usage is at 20 MB and you want to update your usage to 100 MB (+80 MB). You would set the plan usage to 100 MB. This would also distribute this new value over the ten days so the day history will be changed. If you want to update your usage amount to 100 MB but you want to preserve as much of the day history as possible, instead of setting the plan usage, add 80 MB to today’s usage (Day > Menu > Set Usage). This way the previous days will not be affected.

      • For example, let’s say your plan started ten days ago, your plan usage is at 20 MB and you want to update your usage to 100 MB (+80 MB). You would set the plan usage to 100 MB. This would also distribute this new value over the ten days so the day history will be changed. If you want to update your usage amount to 100 MB but you want to preserve as much of the day history as possible, instead of setting the plan usage, add 80 MB to today’s usage (Day > Menu > Set Usage). This way the previous days will not be affected.


What is the “Restrict background data to WiFi” feature? [Pro version]

The “Restrict background data to WiFi” feature (formerly named “Restrict to WiFi”) allows you to restrict data transfers done by selected applications while they are in the background. It has been introduced in 3GW Pro 1.11.0 and requires Android 2.2+ (Froyo).

To apply it, go to the “usage by application” screen, press on the target application and select “Restrict background data to WiFi” in the menu. To revert to the non restricted state, press on the target application and select “Allow on mobile” in the menu.

The function monitors apps and attempts to terminate their background processes when they start transferring data on mobile networks. Note that:
– Apps will have transferred some data (usually a small amount) before they can be detected and terminated.
– The termination doesn’t require your phone to be rooted, but applies only to background transfers. if you open the app (so it is in the foreground) and it transfers data, it will not be terminated, because it happens while you are here to control what happens, unlike in the case of a background transfer. Android forbids a non privileged application to kill another one, it’s only possible to terminate background processes.
– Some rare applications like Facebook don’t seem to be stoppable. When terminated they obstinately restart again and again. To try to restrict them may actually be counterproductive (more data transfered!) and it is suggested to not attempt to restrict them.

To summarize the “Restrict background data to WiFi” feature is not a firewall which can totally block an application. It attempts to reduce the background usage of an application, and will usually succeed, except for some applications like Facebook (unfortunately we have no comprehensive list of apps concerned).

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      The usage % calculation is inaccurate?

      The usage % calculation is bogus” – (variant of “The % is stalled at 0 [since the last upgrade or other conditions”)

      Unit symbols used in computing are misleading, because a K is not 1000 but 2 power 10, which is 1024, so 1KB is 1024 bytes, 1MB is 1024 KB, and 1GB is 1024 MB. For example for someone with a 1GB quota and 112.04MB usage, the ratio is 112.04 MB/ 1024MB (10.94%), not 112.04MB/ 1000MB (11.2%).

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